How to warm up for whitewater rafting
We chose to start this fantastic rafting trip at 9:30 in the morning. That meant up by 6am, warmup and run with the doggie for 50 mins, make breakfast, and hit the road by 7:45am.
Then we sat in the car. For 75 minutes.
I was so excited to get to our destination and all geared up that I forgot to think about the potential physical requirements of the next sport of the day: whitewater rafting.
Have you ever been rafting? I have been before, but it never required a wetsuit, helmet, booties, and splash jacket as well as a life vest. We were in 42 degree water that was direct snow melt from Mt. Adams in Washington. It was beautiful, cold, and clear. With lots of 3, 4, and one class 5 rapid the river demanded some ability to move well in the raft.I always say, “you never know when being fit will come in handy!” Click To Tweet
In this case, a lot of adrenaline and high levels of fun and excitement overcame any movement restrictions I might have experienced. However, in retrospect, I think the following three exercises would give your hips a quick targeted warmup. I was just too excited to think it through clearly, and I zipped through my explanation in the video as well!
Watch the video here, and I tacked the trip over the waterfall on the end…look for the guide to triumphantly pump his arm in the air!
If you’d like some explanation of the three exercises, read on…
Let me know in the comments below how you get ready for a big outdoor excursion like rafting or kayaking.
Exercise 1: Deep, full squat
If you don’t have a rafting paddle to hang onto, then grab the edge of the sink, and drop all the way down into your hips so your glutes hit your heels. Drive thru your heels to use those glutes to power you back up. Practice a few fairly rapidly- our guide insisted we move quickly enough before he could feel good about taking us through the bigger class rapids. We used this to pop into the inside of the raft, which was essential when we went over the waterfall. That was exciting!
Exercise 2: Bench half pigeon from yoga
In this case, I place one bent knee up on the bench, and then drop the back leg back into a semi lunge. I stretch the hip flexor on the back leg as I lean forward and open up the bent knee, stretching the inside of the thigh. Try both sides. Since this is a warm up situation, only hold the stretch for 2 seconds, and then release. If you use it cooling down, then hold it the full 90 seconds.
Exercise 3: Figure Four
I chose to sit and demonstrate this, but you can certainly try it standing. Cross your foot on your knee, and bring the knee that has the crossed foot on it closer to your body. That will give your hip flexor a chance to engage as well as the inside of the hip to stretch again. You also use your core to stabilize the whole position, and then try the other side. Again, are you warming up or cooling down? Warmup: Only hold 2 seconds, and Cool down feel free to hang in there for the full 90 seconds.
Have fun! Give rafting a try!!